Situational and Dispositional Predictors of Performance: A Test of the Hypothesized Machiavellianism Structure Interaction Among Sales Persons1


  • 1

    I give special thanks to Professors Richard Christie, Morris Holbrook, Donald Lehmann, John O'Shaughnessy, Noel Capon, R. Gary Bridge, and the anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful comments on this and earlier drafts of this paper.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Dr. Clifford J. Shultz II, Arizona State University West, Business Programs, 4701 West Thunderbird Road, Post Office Box 37100, Phoenix, AZ 85069-7100.


The hypothesized interaction found in laboratory studies between situational structure and Machiavellianism was tested on working samples of sales representatives. The results suggested that success or failure of Machiavellian tactics used in sales organizations appears to depend on the organization's structure: In loosely structured sales organizations high Machiavellians significantly outperformed low Machiavellians, but in tightly structured sales organizations, high Machiavellians failed to outperform low Machiavellians. These results and implications for future research are discussed.